Imagine this: Your school district wants you to feel safe and know you are valued, so they install a security system. Yay!
But wait for it … this same district is now requiring that you give up 30 minutes of your morning in order to operate the system and get students into the school. Every. Single. Day. Say what?!
This is what’s happening right now at a high school in North Carolina, and one of their teachers is speaking out. She first posted this news on her anonymous Twitter account. For the purpose of protecting this teacher, we are not going to reveal her identity or the school district itself. But she did speak to us to share the story behind her recent tweets. Take a look.
Why did the district purchase a school security system?
It is needed. The schools in our district either don’t have an SRO (school resource officer) or only have one. My school does have an SRO, but we are a school of 2,000 students and one SRO is not enough. Additionally, with the uptick of school shootings and lockdowns, we would be foolish to say they weren’t needed.
Were teachers initially happy about having it?
When we found out the security systems were going to be purchased and installed, we were very happy. For once, the school district was being proactive instead of reactive. At the time, we didn’t know it would be more work on us.
What’s the district’s instructions to teachers about having morning duty?
The district didn’t send anything about there being a change in morning duty. The info about the change regarding morning duty came from our admin. An email was sent out midmorning to those teachers who had morning duty, notifying them there would be a change, starting the next day.
And what’s involved in this in general?
Our morning duty time runs from 6:45 to 7:15 a.m. The buses can’t release until 6:45, nor can any other students enter the building. Prior to the security systems install, one group of teachers had duty from 6:45 to 7 a.m. and the second group from 7 to 7:15 a.m. Post–security system install, all morning duty teachers were informed their duty would be from 6:45 to 7:15 a.m.
What kind of training was provided?
None. Nor is any planned.
What are you supposed to do if you find weapons, drugs, or something else concerning?
1. I don’t know. That information hasn’t been shared since there hasn’t been any training. Granted, my common sense tells me I would need to call admin, BUT …
2. When you try to call the front office (they have the radios to alert admin to issues on campus), you can’t get an answer.
3. Some of us have some of the admins’ cell numbers, but they don’t always answer. There are also times they aren’t on campus. You just gotta hope you text or call the right one.
How is the system overall?
These security scanners are not user-friendly or very advanced. The kids have to take out their binders, Chromebooks, and eyeglass cases or else it will set off the scanner. It’s a hot mess on the daily.
What’s the sentiment among your colleagues?
We are frustrated. In addition to the morning circus, admin comes through and removes the scanners at some of the entry points before the end of first block. We have students who don’t arrive on campus until second block because they don’t have a first block class. But I guess we aren’t gonna worry about those kids.
What’s the sentiment among others you’ve told about this?
Somewhere between not surprised and flabbergasted. The ones who are blown away at the additional duty time, potential searching of student bags, and performing security without training are those who have a union.
Where do you teach?
And you are not protected by a union?
Nope. This state is a “right to work” state. No unions here. Which at a time like this is very unfortunate.
What else do you wish people knew about this situation?
We want to be safe. We want our students to be safe. But why are we being asked to do yet one more thing? And on top of that, why does it have to be something we are completely untrained for? This, security, is not in our wheelhouse. Security is not our specialty. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for someone also to be looking after us, along with our students.
If we say something, we look like whiners or complainers. Teachers have been vilified the past two years, and the last thing we want to do is look like we don’t appreciate the security system that has been installed in our school.
We do appreciate it. What we don’t appreciate is being put into a no-win situation.